John E. Brennan is a 50-year-old man that had enough of the TSA’s groping back in April when he was at a security checkpoint at the Portland International Airport. He decided to strip naked to show the TSA officials he was clean to try to speed up the process. The result, as you might imagine, was an arrest and an indecent exposure charge. However, an Oregon judge acquitted him of the charge this week, siding with Brennan that the stripping of his clothing was a valid protest of the TSA policies and is a protected form of freedom of speech.
The prosecution fought the protest defense by saying that Brennan did not inform TSA officials that his stripping was a protest until after police had been called. That’s pretty weak, don’t you think? Now, you have to publicly announce that you are protesting, even if it is obvious to everyone. When Brennan found out he was going to be getting a full pat-down inspection, he decided to make it easier for everyone and just lose the clothes. No pat-down needed. In his testimony, he remarked on it, noting the ridiculous nature of removing his clothes to protect his privacy.
Brennan holds that his points were legitimate. He says that if airport screening devices expose them anyway, why not just get it over with and bare it all?
So what do you think? Planning on stripping on down next time you go through airport security? Don’t worry about the cops. You now have legal precedent.